Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The lesson is aboout the dynamic relationship between leaders and followers.


Hebrews 13:17

By Dr. Cleavon Matthews Sr.

November 15, 2009


Leading and following are eternally etched into the fabric of human relationships. In countless ways, we are participants in this interconnected dynamic. No group or organization of people can survive without the successful dynamic of leaders and followers.

Leadership is all around us. It is germane to the corporate environment as well as governmental institutions. Leadership exists in both homes and huddles. This dynamic interchange of leaders and followers is in both the larger society and smaller social groups. Leadership occurs everywhere.

A lot of time, attention, and research have been devoted to helping men and women to become better leaders. Leadership has become a science and specialty amassing an unlimited number of references, resources, academic degrees, training, and conferences.

While this emphasis on leadership is essential, it is only one side of the equation. There is no leadership when there are no followers. Like leaders, followers need to be taught, trained, encouraged, and empowered to follow.

We should not falsely assume that we know how to follow. Jesus spent His entire public ministry trying to recruit and sustain followers or disciples. The Lord was calling people to deny themselves, pick up their cross, and follow Him. Ultimately, His followers, would become leaders but not before they had proven their willingness and ability to follow Him!

Following is a part of life! You are not fit to lead if you are not willing to follow!

Students follow teachers

Teachers follow principals

Principals follow boards

Athletes follow coaches

Coaches follow general managers

Privates follow sergeants

Sergeants follow lieutenants

Lieutenants follow captains

Nurses follow doctors

Doctors follow administrations

Board Members follow Chairmen

Wives follow husbands

Children follow parents

Younger siblings follow older siblings

Actors follow directors

Passengers follow pilots

Managers follow executives

Technicians follow managers

Members follow ministers and shepherds

Ministry members follow ministry leaders

Choral members follow choral directors

Everybody follows Christ

Unfortunately, our culture has grown increasingly averse to following. The position of follower is perceived as inferior and inglorious. The role of follower has been stigmatized as insignificant and has become undesirable. This is ironic because all of us are followers of someone or something. Our aversion to following is connected to an over emphasis of the individual and a de-emphasis on the whole. We have forgotten that there is on “I” in team! When the Yankees win the World Series, everyone on the team gets a ring and shares in the history.

Leading and following in the church of our Lord is more important than leading and following in any other organization.

When people don’t lead and follow in the schools, students are not educated.

When people don’t lead and follow in the church, spirits are not fed the eternal word.

When people don’t lead and follow in the hospital, lives are lost.

When people don’t lead and follow in the church, souls are lost.

When people don’t lead and follow in the workplace, jobs are lost.

When people don’t lead and follow in the church, there are no laborers for the harvest.

When people don’t lead and follow in the CDC, disease spread.

When people don’t lead and follow in the church, sin spreads.

When people don’t lead and follow in the FDA, contamination occurs.

When people don’t lead and follow in the church, corruption occurs.

The Hebrew writer has something vital to say about following leaders in the kingdom. This epistle was written to Christians of Jewish ancestry. Like most New Testament epistles, it was written to address current concerns.

The church was under intense scrutiny and pressure from the Roman Empire. These Christians were seriously considering turning back to Judaism as a means of avoiding persecution. In fact, the book is organized around five warning passages, imploring them not to turn back. The writer calls them to have faith in the eternal, efficacious, and effective Person and redemptive work of Christ. They are spiritually immature (5:12-14) and in danger of being carried about with various and strange doctrines (13:9a). They followed their past leaders (13:7) but they must also follow their present leaders (13:17).


Hebrews 13:17 “Obey those who rule over you…”

The writer uses the phrase ‘those who rule over you’ three times in this chapter. In verse 13 he says ‘remember those who rule over you.’ In verse, 24 he says ‘greet all those who rule over you.’ In verse 17, he says ‘obey those who rule over you.’

The word translated ‘obey’ is the original word peitho. This verb is in the present tense, middle voice, imperative mood, and second person plural. The root meaning is to persuade or have confidence. It is used to describe the act of being convinced, assenting to evidence or authority, agreement, and trust.

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Browse All Media

Related Media

Follow Jesus
PowerPoint Template
Following The Crowd
PowerPoint Template
His Sheep
PowerPoint Template
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion